School Involvement for Smarties: Commuter Edition

As someone who transferred colleges not once, but two official times, I know it can be a huge challenge to start over. My freshman and sophomore year I attended a college of about 2,500 students in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and it was honestly pretty great. I was extremely involved in multiple clubs and organizations, lived on campus, and knew just about every person I walked by on my way to class each day. Heading into my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to have more leadership positions. I ran for multiple spots and came out with a couple of e-board positions.

Unfortunately, after many late nights and challenging decisions, I determined I would benefit from transferring to another school closer to home. Heading into my first day at UMKC, however, showed to be much more challenging. The campus was four times larger than my old school with five times more students. It was overwhelming and I genuinely felt like I had no one, for the first time in years. The irony was how close I actually was to home, family and high school friends. I decided I needed to be as involved as possible to make UMKC feel special to me, just as my previous school had felt. Though my intentions were in the right place, it was a challenge deciding to be involved when I drove 45 minutes both ways each day I was on campus. Being involved can be challenging when you’re in a new location, to begin with, not including the drive that transfers might have. It isn’t a lost cause though. You can be involved, even as a transfer. You can be involved, even as a commuter. You can be involved, even as a transfer and commuter.

Step 1: Recognize that it might be a little bit of a challenge.

I am the last person to say it is easy to be involved when you are starting over and driving long distances to and from school. With that being said, it is important you focus on the decision.

Step 2: Choose organizations of interest.

Look at all the organizations offered at your school and focus on the ones that are most interesting to you and your hobbies.

Step 3: Look at when those organizations meet.

Once you have found organizations you think will be interesting, look at when they meet and what time commitments they require. After finding that information, fit the organizations into your class and works plans to make a schedule that makes the most sense. If there is an organization that you really want to join but the meeting times make it impossible, reach out to the organizer and see if they can help you out.

Step 4: Participate, even if it is forced at times.

I know how that sounds, but the more you force yourself to be involved, the less you will have to force yourself in the future. Once you have found an organization or multiple organizations that you enjoy, and have found friends in those groups, participation will come naturally.

Being involved on your college campus creates a more welcoming and enjoyable environment to be a part of. As someone who has always loved being involved, but was challenged by the struggle of commute time and lack of knowledge as a transfer, these tips helped me figure it out. I hope they can do the same for anyone else looking to get involved with organizations on their campus.